Sadly for some (climbers at least), the rainy season finally arrived: The plans for Jilotepec changed sharply and  turned into something steeper!!... The cave of "El Penitente" in Hidalgo it's an excellent choice if you are looking for a nice physical -and dry- climbing during the moisturized noons of summer.
After the two and a half hours way driving from Mexico City and some nasty ruses by the weather we arrived into the town of "El Arenal" -few minutes before Actopan-, a quiet humble town with Otomi origins founded around the earlies 1700's (actually the Otomi word for this settlement were "Mohmu" which means bunch of sand).
The guardian of the Church in El Arenal. Photo by Marco Helu
 At first we gave a few burns in "La Colmena" sector which is depicted by the short and slopery routes and the close aproach from the parking (so yes, it was pure lazyness of the uphill aproaching); There we tried a couple of 12a/7a+ and a 11?/6? After, during the afternoon when the weather becames cooler (and started to drizzle) we decided to go to the main crag, Penitente's Cave.
The Colmena sector, at the distance and from a few meters from the parking.
That was a hard aproaching! We were carrying with plenty of stuff! That day we arrived very late and I only had a chance for two tries (already with headtorch), so I decided to give a burn to the first anchor of "Rarotonga 13a/7c+" and after another one on "Trauma 13a/7c+".
Jaimie testing himself on "Rarotonga 13c/8a+"
David Blanco Focused on the steepness of "Trauma 13a/7c+"

All night long was hazy and humid so the holds became very greasy at the next morning. That doesn't stop us and tried "Kraken 12a/7a+", "Matanga 13b/8a" and the king of the party (for me): "Crackups vs M&M's 13d/8b" I could say that the description of this route it must be LONG... the line it's the linking of the linking of the linking of the routes of the back side of the cave. Starts with "Kraken", a short roof with powerful long moves on skin-biting rock and hard clips to continue with the 4 linking bolts of a traverse of killer slopery crimps (the second crux) heading to the route called "Fatum 13b/8a": writhed tricky moves route with a boulder from a hard pinch on the roof to a handjam (third crux) and finishing with the "gran final" of "En el pecado está la penitencia 13c/8a+" (wich usually is a traverse from left to right but now its from right to left -and in my opinion becomes easier-) a very  powerful boulder on the last meters (when trying it by the normal way).
Fer fighting a muerte on the "Kraken 12a/7a+"!! Photo by Daniel Tapia
Sofía Heinze struggling on the crux of "Penitente 12c/7b+" and me on the rest of Crakups vs M&M's. Photo by Daniel Tapia

Daniel Tapia passing the crux of "Matanga 13b/8a". Photo by Daniel tapia
 Now that I get a project I'm starting to get psyked! I sent  before (2008) the Crackups extension so I remembered vaguely the movements and did almost to the top. This route is perfect to get some motivation and launch myself into harder projects! So let's see what happens now into this pump fest!
Wwhooaaaa!! What a rest!! "Matanga 13b/8a". Photo by David Blanco
Till next time! Take it easy!!



Finally!! After almost 5 months of non sleeping well and hard working at the universtity this weekend I went to Jilotepec, my local climbing area! It was very refreshing to feel the rock again! But its really pity to feel everytime weak or the sensation of being tired fast.
After the proper warming up I decided to sound out my situation so I placed my draws to the half of the route of my old proyect -"Beell Tuunich 13d/8b"-, trying 3 of the 4 cruxes of the route. I had a surprise when I managed to solve the first two cruxes from one pull (not bad!!). That motivates me a lot! 
I just know that I'll get back in shape. It doesn't matter how many times I fall, I always get up. I'll be crushing soon!!
Isabel Silva (Chere) swinging on Numeros Rojos 13d/8b




Just one word could describe this festival (according to our beloved host): Inhuman!!
It was a long long time ago since I did my firt trip to "Peña Bernal". In those days the goal for me was to climb to the top of that huge wall but after a few visits, when I finished with the classic multipitch routes the crag seemed just boring and without variety... I was certainly worng!
This festival was exactly what I need to discover the other hidden style! Close to two hundred of sweet volcanic rock boulders from V0  and forward to insane projects! It's funny that I never bouldered there before, even when the boulder crag was developed almost 10 years ago!

On june 4 and 5, after 5 hours -usually 2 and a half- driving we (Fitz,his two friends, Poncha and me) finally arrived. This time the way was not fancy or luxurious at all and Poncha and I traveled at the back side of the truck.
Our sunny trip to Peña

We finally arrived to the Chi Chi D'Ho Camping (at the back side of the giant rock) and get into the star chaser comp. The boulders were just amazing and the crowd was close to 500 people!
Front of Peña Bernal. Source: montanismo.org
The entire event was just pure fun, in despite with the quantity of people gathered together on the boulders and the heat of the desert. The main event was the "star chaser competition" where the points were the stars  in the guidebook of each boulder! So, that was an interesting way to organize a comp; that way instead to aim for the hardest boulders you were aiming for the coolest boulders! At the end your score was the summatory of the stars collected (in two team assemble).

The crowd on Capitán Calzón. Source: montanismo.org              Ivan (Poncha) trying a lost boulder forgotten by the rabble

Diego González enjoying of the aesthetic line of Katana V10 at the sector of "El Rancho"
Ivan spoting Fernanda González on "Lado oscuro del corazón". Foto by Daniel Tapia
But the fun doesn't stop there:During the afternoon there was also "push or pull" contest, slacklining and dyno competition! The end of the day was received by the proyection of the movie "Reach!" presented by Madrock.
The dyno comp and Franz (our unshut-up-able and cheerful host) at the slck line.
 So, this crag is amazing and hopefully I'll come back soon! Till next time!
Our way back home! Tha tha!